White collar crime is common, and it refers to a wide variety of fraudulent crimes committed by individuals, government professionals and businesses. At any given time, the Federal Bureau of Investigations as well as numerous other law enforcement agencies are investigating financially motivated crimes, although some are more common than others.
Although white collar crimes are non-violent, this does not mean they are not harmless. As a result, the penalties can be severe.
Common types of white collar crimes
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, corporate fraud is one of the crimes that results in damage to the U.S. economy and substantial financial loss for investors. Main focuses in this area include self-dealing, misrepresentation of financial information and mutual hedge fund fraud.
Other major focus areas for the FBI are securities and commodities fraud and money laundering. However, there are many other types of white collar crime, including identity theft, healthcare fraud, asset forfeiture, piracy, mortgage fraud and election crimes.
The FBI is not the only agency that investigates these crimes. Law enforcement agencies, private and governmental entities and international parties also coordinate and help.
Penalties for conviction
According to the Legal Information Institute, the cost of white collar crime on an annual basis for the United States is around $300 billion. Charges for these crimes are typically for individuals, although corporations may also face criminal charges.
A conviction for white collar crime comes with numerous penalties. If individuals lost money as a result of the fraud, the defendant typically needs to pay restitution. A prison sentence is also common if at least one individual experienced significant financial loss. Other potential penalties include community confinement, fines, home detention, forfeitures and the responsibility to pay prosecutor’s fees.